Efficient lentiviral transduction method to gene modify cord blood CD8 + T cells for cancer therapy applications

Vania Lo Presti, Annelisa Cornel, Maud Plantinga, Ester Dünnebach, Jurgen Kuball, Jaap Jan Boelens, Stefan Nierkens, Niek van Til

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Adoptive T cell therapy utilizing tumor-specific autologous T cells has shown promising results for cancer treatment. However, the limited numbers of autologous tumor-associated antigen (TAA)-specific T cells and the functional aberrancies, due to disease progression or treatment, remain factors that may significantly limit the success of the therapy. The use of allogeneic T cells, such as umbilical cord blood (CB) derived, overcomes these issues but requires gene modification to induce a robust and specific anti-tumor effect. CB T cells are readily available in CB banks and show low toxicity, high proliferation rates, and increased anti-leukemic effect upon transfer. However, the combination of anti-tumor gene modification and preservation of advantageous immunological traits of CB T cells represent major challenges for the harmonized production of T cell therapy products. In this manuscript, we optimized a protocol for expansion and lentiviral vector (LV) transduction of CB CD8+ T cells, achieving a transduction efficiency up to 83%. Timing of LV treatment, selection of culture media, and the use of different promoters were optimized in the transduction protocol. LentiBOOST was confirmed as a non-toxic transduction enhancer of CB CD8+ T cells, with minor effects on the proliferation capacity and cell viability of the T cells. Positively, the use of LentiBOOST does not affect the functionality of the cells, in the context of tumor cell recognition. Finally, CB CD8+ T cells were more amenable to LV transduction than peripheral blood (PB) CD8+ T cells and maintained a more naive phenotype. In conclusion, we show an efficient method to genetically modify CB CD8+ T cells using LV, which is especially useful for off-the-shelf adoptive cell therapy products for cancer treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-368
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2021


  • CD*+ T-cells
  • T cell therapy
  • cord blood
  • lentiviral transduction
  • off-the-shelf


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